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A town on the river

A town on the river
The plan of authorities to utilize maximum potential of about 2.3 lakh hectares land in this zone is yet to materialize as investors are still considering neighbouring Dadri, a semi urban region, more suitable for investment.

The realty analysts find scores of reasons for investors ignoring the area in comparison to Dadri and other parts but anticipate change in scenario in two-three years. The Yamuna Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), which is authorized to ensure development of the entire zone that comprises six districts, claims that work is on to serve the purpose of its formation and changes will be visible soon across the region.

While on one hand the authorities are claiming that they are not leaving any stone unturned for infrastructural growth on the other side Dadri has been emerging as a  preferred location for investors. In recent past, it has been observed that noted builders, small colonisers and individuals have moved towards the area overlooking soon to come well planned cities along the 167-kilometre expressway and nor have the industrialists moved in here in large numbers. Although the region is as green as Dadri is, there are certain reasons due to which Dadri has managed to have an edge over Yamuna Zone.

Poor Connectivity
The entire development of the area has always been concentrated on the expressway while no infrastructure has been developed other than this. The connectivity of villages with the expressway and other key roads is poor and the investors find tough to invest their hard earned money here. YEIDA, in its previous board meetings, announced several projects to improve road infrastructure but it has yet to draw its attention there. However, in Dadri, every nook and corner has proper road connectivity which has made it comfortable for the people who stay there.

Distance with the national Capital
The distance of sectors and villages along Yamuna Expressway from the national capital is more in comparison to Dadri. Here expressway is only a means to travel while Dadri is connected directly with the national capital by means of railways. As dozens of local trains run between both the regions, thousands of office goers find it easy to live in the area. While there is no bus connectivity from Yamuna Zone on one hand, on the other, hundreds of buses ply between Dadri and Delhi via Noida daily. YEIDA has proposed a metro link between Pari Chowk in Greater Noida to Sector 18/20 along the expressway but the project wiil not be feasible till the metro reaches Pari Chowk from neighbouring Noida.

High cost of land
The high cost of land alongsideYamuna Exressway is also a major reason of slow rate of development. Purchase of land is costly here due to imposition of UP Industrial Act 1976. As per the act, land can be purchased or sold through industrial development authority under the provisions of the master plan. In Dadri, one can enter in purchase and sale agrrements without any such interference and can deal directly. As the act is not applicable in Dadri, land rate is nearly 25 to 35 per cent cheaper than Yamuna zone. In last couple of years, it has been witnessed that dozen of builders and many more colonisers have purchased land from farmers for housing projects as well as colonies.

Farmers' Issue
As the Yamuna zone comprises 335 villages of six districts namely Gautambudh Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Hathras, Mathura and Agra, it has always been a conflict zone between farmers and the state government. Issues of land acquisition, adequate compensation on acquisition, change in land use, toll collection from farmers, job and other benefits to the families of farmers have always prevailed here. Owing to these issues, the authorities have yet not acquired most parts of land despite announcing housing and industrial projects in last few years.

‘Authority purchases land from farmers on minimum rates and sell it to real estate firms on higher rates. We want actual cost of our land and other facilities which authorities hesitate to consider. We have approached the court also and the issue is likely to be resolved soon,’ says Dushyant Nagar, convener of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (KSS).

YEIDA is also in process to consider their demands which is being reflected through its recent announcements and decisions. After hectic rounds of discussions and talks with farmers' organisations, announcement of increased compensation was made earlier and assurance was given to look at other demands too. YEIDA’s move was aimed to sort out the possession row in sector’s 18 and 20 and also to provide benefit to 21,000 investors. ‘As we are working for development of the region, we will not let any stone unturned in this regard. For now, we have agreed on few demands and others are on cards,’ said YEIDA CEO, PC Gupta in a press conference last month.

Faulty planning
The analysts blame faulty planning of the government for slow rate of growth that is diverting the investors and individual home buyers from Yamuna Expressway area to Dadri, an under-developed region. They claim that the initial plan to allot plots of 1000 square meter, 2000 square meter, 3000 sqaure meter and 4000 sqaure meter could not attract individuals as it was out of their pockets. On the other side, land is available in all sizes in Dadri.

‘The authorities must allot plots in smaller sizes so lower middle class people can be attracted to this area’ says Manoj Kumar, a resident of Noida.

Here, it would be important to mention that the authorities are making all possible efforts to ensure infrastructural development and announcement of several key projects have also been made in past. Initially, around 50,000 hectare land is being developed as industrial and residential zone. In order to  provide world class infrastructure, the focus is also on providing a green zone and a sports hub.
Anup Verma

Anup Verma

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